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Best Places for Hairdressers and Beauticians 2021

There are around 92,000 Hair and Beauty jobs in the UK, but where are the best places to be a hairdresser, barber or beautician? We've crunched the numbers on jobs, pay and cost of living to find the best places to live and work in hair and beauty services.

Hairdressers and beauticians are in constant demand. Hair is always growing, and many people indulge regularly in beauty treatments to some degree, whether as self care or general maintenance. In recent years, the beauty industry has grown exponentially and is now worth £28.4bn to the UK economy.

Hair and beauty service providers are expected to perform a wide range of treatments on their clients, and to do so safely you'll need to get qualified first. While it’s possible to find beauty courses for free, especially if you are between the ages of 16-18, someone funding their own training should expect to pay around £3,500 for a beauty therapy course.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were over 92,000 hair and beauty jobs in the United Kingdom at the end of 2020. But due to the impact of COVID-19 on jobs, this represents a decrease of 13.7% jobs from 2019. Where are the best opportunities for hairdressers and beauticians now? We ranked UK regions to determine the best areas for hairdressers and beauticians to live and work based on average salaries and the cost of living in different areas for both full-time and part-time job. We also looked at job availability in different areas. Here's what we found.

Best Places in Great Britain for Hairdressers, Barbers and Beauticians

Infographic showing the best regions in Great Britain for Hairdressers and Beauticians

Full-Time Hairdressers, Barbers and Beauticians

According to the Office for National Statistics, full-time hairdressers, barbers and beauticians earn an average of £16,630 per year in the UK, but wages range significantly from one area to another. Not surprisingly, London hairdressers working full time earn the most—£22,474 a year on average. Hairdressers in Yorkshire and The Humber earn the least, just £13,905 a year (38% less than Londoners).

However, just because Londoners earn the most, doesn't mean it's the best economic decision to live and work as a hairdresser or beautician in the capital due to the high cost of living. The typical London household spends £34,232 per year, which is 16% higher than the UK average.

If you can find a full-time job, then Wales is arguably the best place to work and live as a hairdresser or beautician when you take into account relatively high average wages and a lower cost of living. In Wales, the average hairdresser/beautician earn £18,481 a year, which is the second highest pay behind London. But the average household spends just £24,461 a year to live, which is the second cheapest behind the North East. This makes the Cost-of-Living Ratio in Wales 0.76, which is 34% better than the Cost-of-Living Ratio across the UK (0.57) for full-time hairdressers and beauticians.

The East is least affordable for hairdressers and beauticians. Average annual wages of £14,196 don't go very far compared to the average £29,635 cost for a household to live in the East of England. These figures result in a Cost-of-Living Ratio of just 0.48, the worst in Great Britain.

Part-Time Hairdressers, Barbers and Beauticians

Not everyone can or wants to find a full-time job, however. Which region is it easiest to afford living as a part-time hairdresser or beautician? Turns out, the North East tops the charts with the best Cost-of-Living ratio—average part-time wages of £8,856 a year over average household spending of £23,790 = Cost-of-Living Ratio of 0.37).

While full-time wages are quite variable across the UK, part-time wages are more consistent, falling within a tighter range of £7,462 to £9,714 a year. As a result, living in a more affordable place is key for those working part-time in hair and beauty.

Part-time hairdressers and beauticians will find the South East the least affordable, with a Cost-of-Living Ratio of just 0.24.

Where Are The Jobs?

We also took a look at the availability of hairdressing and beauty jobs in different areas of Great Britain. London has the most hairdressing and beauty jobs—17,000. The capital also has the most hairdressing and beauty jobs per 1,000 working-age people, so the odds would theoretically be better for finding a job in London than in some other areas. The South West has the fewest jobs per population, just 2.1 hairdressing and beauty jobs per 1,000 working-age people.

The ONS did not have reliable jobs numbers data for Wales, the North East and the East Midlands.

Number of Hairdresser & Beautician JobsWorking PopulationJobs Density
South East15,0004,798,6113.1
West Midlands9,0002,984,1013.0
North West9,0003,621,3122.5
Yorkshire and The Humber6,0002,716,2992.2
South West6,0002,859,4002.1
North Eastn/a1,283,265n/a
East Midlandsn/a2,436,239n/a


NimbleFins' study assessed three key factors to determine the best places in Great Britain for hairdressers and beauticians to pursue their careers.

1. Average annual gross pay for hairdressers and beauticians

While the average hairdresser, barber or beautician earns £16,630 per year, gross pay varies widely depending on where you live. As part of this study we considered the average weekly gross pay for hairdressers and beauticians in each region, which we then multiplied by 52 weeks/year to arrive an an annual figure.

2. Hairdresser and beautician job density per region

Hairdressers and beauticians have special skills and must earn a special qualification to work. Regions that have a higher concentration of hair and beauty jobs relative to the working population are more desirable, as there will be more jobs available to choose from.

In 2020, there were 92,000 hair and beauty jobs in the United Kingdom. The number of hair and beauty jobs dropped 12.7% in 2020 as a result of Covid-19.

3. Pay/Cost of living index per region

In determining the best places for hairdressers and beauticians, it is important to understand how easily someone can afford essentials like housing, transportation, food and entertainment, as affordability plays a large role in our quality of life. To reflect the cost of living in different regions, we adjusted wages in this study by the average household spending per region so that regions with a lower cost of living rank higher. The Pay/Cost of Living metric reflects the average gross pay divided by the average household expenditure.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.